Schwarz Racing Husqvarna Desert Team rider Jacob Smith powered to the runner-up result in the 2022 Finke Desert Race over the weekend, starring throughout the event with his front-running pace.

The experienced 33-year-old showed impressive speed to finish Saturday’s Prologue with the fastest time outright of 4m44.4s, which was nearly four seconds quicker than his closest rival.

Starting first in Saturday’s opening stage 226km stage from Alice Springs, Smith confirmed his podium challenge as he was the second rider to reach Finke with a time of 1h49m16.8s.

Returning to Alice Springs to conclude the prestigious event, Smith completed the final leg quickest of all with a 1h48m52.7s, which secured him the runner-up position outright well beneath the previous race record.

Meanwhile, OBR team rider Jack Simpson made it two Husqvarna FE 501s on the outright podium, completing the rostrum in third upon his return to Finke. Also Husky-mounted, Ivan Long claimed sixth position, with Schwarz Racing riders Sam Davie and Rick Ireland eighth and 10th overall.

Simford Racing’s Billy Hargy dominated the 250 four-stroke class onboard his FE 250, winning both stages and the event in the category, while Danielle Foot heroically finished the event first in class onboard her TE 250i after completing navigation duties in the Cars down to Finke and being flown back to Alice Springs to start on the bike.

Jacob Smith: “We laid low heading into Finke and then started well. I had a really good Prologue and put it on pole, which was cool. Obviously started on the front row and got a good jump off the line, I led for the first 30-odd kilometres. I had a bit of moment - hit a square edge that I didn’t see and that sort of rattled me for a little bit. Then Jack [Simpson] got by me and I was in dust for probably 120 kilometres. Once I got back by Jack, I put some time into him and got down to Finke in second, so I was pretty happy with that overnight. I knew Walshy [David Walsh] was going to be pretty hard to beat, he was just on another level, so on the way home I went as fast as I could. I knew it was going to be big gap to try and pull in three minutes, but I just wanted to stay in second and overall I’m pretty pumped with the result, all things considered.”